Men’s fash­ion week em­braces au­then­tic­ity

Emerg­ing and es­tab­lished de­sign­ers showed off themed threads

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - AFFLUENCE - EL­IZ­ABETH PA­TON | The New York Times

THE ar­rival of the new year and the old nar­ra­tive of Lon­don as a global me­trop­o­lis with an iden­tity deeply wo­ven into its de­signs was ev­i­dent at Lon­don Fash­ion Week Men’s.

So it was of lit­tle sur­prise that, last week­end, pas­sion­ate ques­tions around authen­tic pre­sen­ta­tions of self and voice, as well as ex­plo­rations of ar­ti­fice and mi­rage, were front and cen­tre on the run­way. Here’s what shone through.

Next-gen­er­a­tion stars grew up

This sea­son, the stakes were raised by some of the bright­est young tal­ents on the fash­ion week cal­en­dar: recog­ni­tion, per­haps, of a need to boost their cred­i­bil­ity out­side their home base.

Case in point: Charles Jef­frey Lover­boy. The lat­est col­lec­tion, en­ti­tled and show­cased in a di­lap­i­dated Vic­to­rian power sta­tion on the banks of the River Thames, was inspired by a first edi­tion of with a heady dose of 1920s cabaret cul­ture thrown in.

Amid pranc­ing ac­tors, shat­tered chan­de­liers and baths filled with books, came bold, over­size tar­tan suits and ex­quis­ite em­broi­dered coats; colour­ful graphic mo­hair sweaters; and dra­matic scar­let evening gowns, ei­ther oneshoul­dered with a dropped waist or sleeve­less with a full tiered skirt.

Jef­frey’s prodi­gious tal­ent was vis­i­ble in both cut and con­struc­tion, as was an ef­fort to make his of­ten out­ra­geous styles more ac­ces­si­ble.

The same could not be said of Art School. The de­sign­ers Eden Loweth and Tom Bar­ratt said they had been

Dar­ling Lit­tle Sil­lies

The Story of Peter Pan, pic­tur­ing mod­els on the way to the opera, but it was still hard to imag­ine the ex­u­ber­ant ex­plo­sion of silk slips, wob­bly stilet­tos, hacked-up sweat­shirts and bot­tom-skim­ming metal­lic tuxe­dos as ac­tual clothes.

More com­mer­cial was Ed­ward Crutch­ley, who showed a highly ap­petis­ing col­lec­tion he termed “busi­ness wear with bite” and “ex­pen­sive el­e­gance.”

Think sleek tai­lored evening looks for both sexes in­clud­ing pin­striped suits and lux­u­ri­ous cash­mere knits, printed lounge py­ja­mas and silky cig­a­rette pants; all care­ful, con­sid­ered and ad­mirably grown-up.

Tech­nol­ogy grew in im­por­tance

“Fash­ion has over­done nos­tal­gia in an at­tempt to cash in on your im­pos­si­ble long­ing for a per­fect you and per­fect time, that doesn’t ex­ist now and ac­tu­ally never did.”

So read the show notes of Liam Hodges, a Lon­don men’s wear favourite, whose kalei­do­scopic col­lec­tion of track­suits and T-shirts was inspired by the grow­ing pains of “modern day cy­borgs,” touch­ing on ideas around evolv­ing on­line and off­line iden­ti­ties.

It was a theme also plumbed by Cot­tweiler, de­signed by Matthew Dainty and Ben Cot­trell.

Techy track­suits and mul­ti­pocket out­er­wear in ver­dant hues, laden with cheeky touches like open flies, midriff hints and bot­tom-skim­ming zips, were framed by a 10-piece cap­sule col­lec­tion of sleek rain­coats made with the Ital­ian la­bel Al­le­gri.

Big names re­turned

Also adding rich­ness: Craig Green’s beau­ti­ful de­signs rooted around time­less, no­madic men con­tinue to earn him ad­mi­ra­tion.

Belted trench coats in black, blues and earthy reds had an en­velop­ing, cocoon-like qual­ity, while a series of long-sleeved tees and trousers in tightly elas­ti­cated plas­tic scales came with bil­low­ing hoods to match.

Fi­nally, new com­mu­ni­ties were cre­ated Christo­pher Rae­burn cel­e­brated his 10th an­niver­sary this sea­son by re­vis­it­ing and reimag­in­ing some of his most pop­u­lar cre­ations – fit­ting given his brand’s “re­made, re­duced, re­cy­cled” ethos.

Sta­ples of his util­i­tar­ian street wear aes­thetic, like typhoon suits, over­size khaki parkas and patch­work track­suits, were shown in new and in­no­va­tive ma­te­ri­als on an army of mod­els.

David Beck­ham, an owner of Kent and Cur­wen, the Bri­tish her­itage men’s wear brand, wheeled out his wife, Vic­to­ria, his el­dest son, Brook­lyn, and other key mem­bers of the clan for a slap-up break­fast on Sun­day morn­ing, the bet­ter to de­but a cap­sule col­lab­o­ra­tion with the BBC tele­vi­sion series

There were clas­sic three-piece tweed suits, sig­na­ture col­lar­less shirts, and peg-leg wool trousers – all in au­tum­nal tones – along­side a mot­ley mix of rugby shirts, Crom­bie coats, ar­gyle sweaters and striped skinny suits.

Also flat caps, which, Beck­ham ad­mit­ted, “I got from my grand­dad. I wore his from a very young age.” And now?

“Brook­lyn has taken it on as well.”

Peaky Blin­ders.

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